The Winter Companion by Mimi Matthews

The Winter Companion by Mimi Matthews
Parish Orphans of Devon Book 4
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press
Genre: Historical, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

She Needed to be Seen…

As a lady’s companion, Clara Hartwright never receives much attention from anyone. And that’s precisely how she likes it. With a stormy past, and an unconventional plan for her future, it’s far safer to remain invisible. But when her new employer is invited to a month-long holiday at a remote coastal abbey, Clara discovers that she may not be as invisible as she’d hoped. At least, not as far as one gentleman is concerned.

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Neville Cross has always been more comfortable with animals than people. An accident in his youth has left him with a brain injury that affects his speech. Forming the words to speak to his childhood friends is difficult enough. Finding the right things to say to a lovely young lady’s companion seems downright impossible. But Miss Hartwright is no ordinary companion. In fact, there may not be anything ordinary about her at all.

During a bleak Devon winter, two sensitive souls forge an unexpected friendship. But when Clara needs him most, will Neville find the courage to face his fears? Or is saying goodbye to her the most heroic thing he can do?

I know I’m getting older and don’t remember things like I used to, like every book I’ve ever read. I would like to think I’d never forget that Mimi Matthews was one of my favorite authors. While I was reading The Winter Companion, I had a vague feeling that I was familiar with the cast of characters and the setting. That sense of ‘knowing’ grew stronger as I continued turning the pages. I was enjoying the story too much to stop and look the book up on the internet. When I finished, I looked it up and sure enough, I was correct; I had read the first one in this series, The Matrimonial Advertisement. It all came back to me and now I’m sad that I hadn’t read the second and third books. The two that I have read can be read as standalone stories but I much prefer to go back and read the others.

This particular book was a very sweet romance with the bedroom door firmly closed. The heroine, Clara, was innocent and precious. I also found her to be intelligent but gullible yet maintained a strong independent mindset. Those conflicting set of characteristics somehow made her charming and a perfect match for the hero, Neville. Neville’s honesty and childlike mannerisms stole my heart. Together Neville and Clara built each other up. They both had issues from their past to overcome and I appreciated how they didn’t play mind games. They shared their past with each other and their dreams. It was entertaining to see them find their happily ever after.

One bone of contention I have is with Clara’s brother and her mother. Without spoiling anything, I’m not happy with how there is no mention of them afterwards. No apology or closure. I’m left with a few questions. Does Clara just never write or see them again? They were a significant part of the plot. They were the reason that Clara was a companion in the first place and ended up at Devon. I’m a picky reviewer when it comes to those kinds of loose threads.

I enjoyed the epilogue and found The Winter Companion to be an entertaining read. I’m just going to assume that Clara never spoke to her mother or her brother again as long as she lived. They didn’t deserve to have Clara in their lives anyway. What they did to her was unforgivable in my opinion. Neville’s love for Clara more than made up for this minor hiccup in the plot. Their happily ever after made for a satisfying read.

The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews

The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (392 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

An Uncommon Beauty…

Hidden away in rural Devonshire, Phyllida Satterthwaite has always been considered more odd than beautiful. But in London, her oddity has made her a sensation. Far worse, it’s caught the eye of the sinister Duke of Moreland—a notorious art collector obsessed with acquiring one-of-a-kind treasures. To escape the duke’s clutches, she’s going to need a little help.

An Unlikely Hero…
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Captain Arthur Heywood’s days of heroism are long past. Grievously injured in the Peninsular War, he can no longer walk unaided, let alone shoot a pistol. What use can he possibly be to a damsel in distress? He has nothing left to offer except his good name.

Can a marriage of convenience save Philly from the vengeful duke? Or will life with Arthur put her—and her heart—in more danger than ever?

Just as the title suggests, this book was a work of art. This is my second novel by Mimi Matthews and with it came high expectations. I’m thrilled to say it didn’t disappoint.

I personally enjoy historical romance stories and have read quite a few, but I considered Work of Art refreshing. The two leading characters, Arthur and Philly were well suited for each other and made for an inspiring love story. I was riveted to my seat while reading the suspense provided by the sinister Duke of Moreland. I enjoyed the detailed descriptions which made it feel like we were witnesses in the story. There were several well developed characters that added to the richness of the plot.

I have to confess, traditionally after writing a review, I’ll go to Amazon out of curiosity to see what the review percentages are. It always intrigues me when I love a book and find out that others in fact did not, or vice versus. It reminds me how reviews really are subjective to the reviewer. With that said, this time my curiosity got the better of me and I peeked before I wrote my review. I wasn’t surprised to see that a huge percent enjoyed this book as much as I did.

I honestly couldn’t put the book down which made for an exceedingly long night. While I might be tired today, it was worth forgoing my sleep to reach the happily ever after ending. I adored the honesty between Arthur and Philly that propagated a friendship which turned to true love.

This was a wholesome love story between two genuinely kind hearted individuals that deserved to find love and happiness after the tribulations that they individually endured prior to meeting. I strongly encourage readers to pick up this book. It left an everlasting impact in my heart.

A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews

A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press
Genre: Historical, Holiday
Length: Full Length (172 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

A Courtship of Convenience

Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He’s grim and silent. A man of little emotion–or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she’s ready to put an end to things.
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A Last Chance for Love

But severing ties with her taciturn suitor isn’t as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there’s Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What’s a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to Appersett House for Christmas and give him one last chance to win her? Only this time there’ll be no false formality. This time they’ll get to know each other for who they really are.

Sophie Appensett’s father has spent her dowry updating the family mansion by putting in gaslight so when the well to do manufactory owner Edward Sharpe asks if he may court her, the family is overjoyed. After two months Sophie knows she cannot marry this man who seems to have no personality whatsoever.

This is a classic tale of non communication, plus a father who wants to marry his daughter into wealth so he can continue his renovations. Sophie and Edward agree to go their own separate ways but she has second thoughts and finds Edward is not so stuffy as he seems.

I liked how the author brought their reconciliation about by using the Christmas festivities to bring them together in a true romance. There’s still conflict to spice the tale, but the secondary story also helped to engage me to want to read what happened next.

This is a very pleasant story. I can see readers with new ebook readers curling up on the evening of Christmas Day in front of the fire and losing themselves in the story.

The Matrimonial Advertisement by Mimi Matthews

The Matrimonial Advertisement by Mimi Matthews
Parish Orphans of Devon Book 1
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (317 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

She Wanted Sanctuary…

Helena Reynolds will do anything to escape her life in London, even if that means traveling to a remote cliffside estate on the North Devon coast and marrying a complete stranger. But Greyfriar’s Abbey isn’t the sort of refuge she imagined. And ex-army captain Justin Thornhill–though he may be tall, dark, and devastatingly handsome–is anything but a romantic hero.

He Needed Redemption…
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Justin has spent the last two decades making his fortune, settling scores, and suffering a prolonged period of torture in an Indian prison. Now, he needs someone to smooth the way for him with the villagers. Someone to manage his household–and warm his bed on occasion. What he needs, in short, is a wife and a matrimonial advertisement seems the perfect way to acquire one.

Their marriage was meant to be a business arrangement and nothing more. A dispassionate union free from the entanglements of love and affection. But when Helena’s past threatens, will Justin’s burgeoning feelings for his new bride compel him to come to her rescue? Or will dark secrets of his own force him to let her go?

Wow! Oh my goodness! Amazing! I started a new full time job and I swore my days of staying up reading past my bedtime were over! From now on I’m not starting a book before bedtime. I can’t take the risk anymore. I couldn’t put The Matrimonial Advertisement book down.

Everything I look for in a book was incorporated in this romance. I love it when both the hero and heroine have strong personalities yet have vulnerabilities. They are equally intelligent, caring and mutually attracted to one another. This was a sweet romance with the bedroom door firmly closed.

I was smitten with Justin. I’ve never had a man fight for me nor do I wish for that. However, I swooned over Justin’s chivalry.

The plot was absolutely riveting from the first page to the last. This story was exceptionally well written. I’m excited that it’s book one in the Parish Orphans of Devon series. I really hope the next book is about Mr. Finchley and Jenny. I hope there are some guest appearances from Justin and Helena.

This story evoked many emotions in me. I laughed, I got teary eyed and even experienced anger towards Helena’s uncle. The unpredictable moments had me feeling on edge. Mostly I felt happy. I love it when there is an epilogue that leaves me with a book glow.

I can’t say enough wonderful things about this story. Unfortunately it’s past my bedtime. Please give this book a chance if you enjoy historical romance novels. I’m glad I did.

The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter by Mimi Matthews

The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter by Mimi Matthews
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (241 pgs)
Heat Level: sweet
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

England, 1861. A world-weary rake and a prim vicar’s daughter are thrown together during a holiday house party. Will they discover there’s more to each other than meets the eye? Or will revelations from the past end their fragile romance before it begins?

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Valentine March is not the drab little spinster she appears to be. When her new job as a lady’s companion lands her smack in the middle of Yorkshire with England’s most infamous rake, she resolves to keep her head down and her eyes fixed firmly on her future–a future which most definitely does not include a sinfully handsome viscount.

A friendship is impossible. An affair out of the question. But when one reckless act binds them together, will two star-crossed souls discover there’s more to each other than meets the eye? Or will revelations from the past end their fragile romance before it begins?

Unexpected and enthralling are the best words to describe Mimi Matthews’ romance, The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter. Its hard to know where to begin… perhaps with a word about characters, as they are first and foremost. The mostly no good young viscount Tristan is unexpectedly sympathetic; the dear, unattached lady, Valentine, is equally unexpected, as her artistic proclivities are closer to her heart than making the required match…

No spoilers here! Suffice to say, we kick off with two likeable main characters, quickly realize that some of the lesser are also Very Much Not the required respectable Victorian types, and the unexpected is only compounded. Well before the house party kicks off, I was completely enthralled.

I can’t fault this one: it’s the best romance I have read in ages.